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Frequently Asked Questions

You can see questions raised by colleagues during the consultation and responses from Communisis below.

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Pension Scheme

Contribution Structure

Member Charges

FAQs relating to the pension scheme

How are my investments protected within the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver and my existing DC fund being transferred from the Communisis Pension Plan?

Money paid into any Defined Contribution arrangement (including the current arrangements and the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver) is invested in investments funds and it is firstly important to note that the value of your DC pension pot can go up or down depending on how the investments perform.

In terms of the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver itself, the Scottish Widows Master Trust benefits from full protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services firms, such as Scottish Widows. This means that, in the very unlikely event of Scottish Widows being unable to meet its liabilities, its customers would currently be covered by the FSCS for 100% of a claim for any loss to their benefits with no upper limit.

Where employees are members of the Communisis Pension Plan, existing DC savings are currently looked after by the Trustee of the Communisis Pension Plan and similar investment fund protections are available through the insurance arrangements with Legal & General and ultimately the FSCS. Members’ existing DC funds are expected to be transferred to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver later in 2021 if the proposals from Communisis Limited go ahead. In this event, the Trustee would work with Scottish Widows and manage the entire process on your behalf to ensure that the transfer is carried out in a way that protects your interests.

Will I be able to transfer my existing DC fund in the Communisis Pension Plan to an alternative arrangement of my choice if the proposals go ahead?

If the proposals go ahead, the Trustee will write to members after 1 April 2021 in respect of the DC funds built up by them in the Plan for the period up to and including 31 March 2021. It is expected that members’ current DC funds in the Plan will be transferred to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver later in 2021. The full value would be transferred across with no penalties. However, there would be the opportunity for you to transfer your current DC fund to an alternative arrangement such as a personal pension before the transfer of your current DC fund to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver takes place. The Trustee will confirm all options in respect of members’ existing DC funds after 1 April 2021, if the proposals from Communisis go ahead.

What happens to the assets of the existing Communisis Pension Trust such as property?
If a transfer to the Communisis Flexible Saver does take place, the Trustee would confirm to members of the Communisis Pension Plan after 1 April 2021 the specific arrangements for the transfer of individual investment funds to the new arrangement. The assets of the Communisis Pension Plan in which members’ individual accounts are invested will be sold and the proceeds will be transferred to the Communisis Flexible Saver and credited to members’ individual accounts under that arrangement. The other assets of the Communisis Pension Plan will not be affected by this proposal.
Will my pension be invested between 1 April 2021 and the date of transfer from the Communisis Pension Plan to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver?
Members’ existing DC funds in the Plan would continue to be invested in the Communisis Pension Plan right up until the point of transfer to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver. There may be a short period of time whereby members’ existing DC funds will not be invested whilst they are disinvested from the Communisis Pension Plan and reinvested in the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver. However, arrangements will be put in place to minimise any impact for members.
When there are a number of members who are so close to retirement why are we changing things?
Whilst there will always be some members close to retirement, there are also a wide range of ages across the whole membership and the pension arrangement is used for automatic enrolment so, an open pension scheme for members to contribute to and build up future retirement savings. The changes are proposed to increase value for money generally across all Communisis employees, and also the Company, and to make the arrangements fairer for all regardless of age.
Will it be safe to transfer my existing DC fund to the new arrangement when investment markets are uncertain due to the pandemic and Brexit?
If the proposals go ahead, the Trustee of the Communisis Pension Plan will provide all members with notice in advance of any subsequent transfer of existing DC funds to the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver. The Trustee would work with Scottish Widows to protect members’ interests when making a transfer of this nature, and we would envisage appropriate measures being put in place to protect members against the risk of movements in the investment markets whilst the transfer is being implemented. The transfer process that the Trustee puts in place would be confirmed to members in writing by the Trustee next summer, if the proposals from Communisis go ahead on 1 April 2021.

FAQs relating to the contribution structure

Why do I have to reapply to increase my personal contribution (also known as an AVC)?
It will be necessary to reset your contributions to a core rate, so they align with the new contribution structure. This also provides a suitable time for you to review how much you currently pay and decide how much you want to pay going forward. April payroll contributions will be at core rates and any changes you wish to make to your own personal contribution will apply from May onwards.
I do not pay a pension contribution and have never have done so why do I have to contribute now?
Most Company pension schemes require some level of employee contribution and within Communisis this is a minimum of 4% for colleagues. As part of the proposal to harmonise and equalise pension benefits, it is proposed that you now contribute alongside your colleagues within the business to fully integrate and align to Communisis values.
I am in the auto-enrolment section getting lower employer contributions than most colleagues – can I get the higher rates?
Employees who are in the auto enrolment (DC2013) section receive contributions in line with statutory requirements. This has been the case since automatic enrolment came into force and reflects the fact that at that point, some employees were not a member of the company pension scheme and Communisis was required by law to enrol employees who met certain requirements into a qualifying pension scheme. Unfortunately, in this case, there is no option to opt for higher employer contributions.
I currently receive higher pension contributions from Communisis because of a legacy Defined Benefit Scheme (pre 2007), so why is it proposed now that my contributions from the Company are being reduced?
The current DC pension landscape in terms of appropriate contribution levels were considered as well as the economic climate in terms of affordability and sustainability. Whilst the proposals may negatively impact some employees more than others, they are designed to harmonise pension arrangements at Communisis and equalise contributions amongst employees so that they are fairer to all. All feedback both positive and negative will be collated and passed to Communisis who will then consider all feedback as part of the consultation process before a final decision is made regarding these proposals in February 2021.
Of those between aged between 55 and 65, 33% (in a specific population) don’t understand how they will be impacted.
The personalised consultation letter explained the impact of the proposals on each individual member and we have provided additional support to help employees, such as educational information uploaded to onecommunisispension.co.uk including a video and an initial Questions and Answers leaflet. Further information will be uploaded during the course of the consultation to support employees’ understanding of the proposals.

In terms of proposed contribution changes, a link to the salary calculator at onecommunisispension.co.uk can be used to explore the effect on take home pay of a change in personal contribution rate.

If the proposals go ahead, there will be an impact on expected retirement income where contributions are lower than currently paid. However, as is currently the case, there will be the ability to pay additional contributions under the new structure to bridge any gap personally, and an opportunity to review retirement needs using the tools that Scottish Widows will make available.

Communisis have set up a dedicated team to assist with individual enquiries and to help employees understand the impact of the proposals. Employees can contact the team by telephone on 0207 429 1429 or by email at cfp@buck.com

80% of those who responded to the Union made it clear that they do not intend on retiring in the next 2 years so they are going to feel the impact after the conclusion of the compensation being offered.
Whilst the proposals may negatively impact some employees more than others, they are designed to harmonise pension arrangements at Communisis and equalise contributions amongst employees so that they are fairer to all. Communisis have agreed to provide some short term compensation at affordable levels although there is actually no requirement to do so. The compensation is designed to support you with the transition over the short term and is not sustainable in the long term.
The compensation being offered is poor.
Communisis will consider all feedback received during the consultation before making a final decision. However, compensation levels have been set in line with current economic conditions and at a level which is affordable.
Communisis is not sticking to what was agreed when individuals TUPE’d over to Communisis.
Whilst TUPE does provide protection this relates to providing a minimum level of benefit. The proposed contribution rates under the new arrangement still meet this minimum requirement. Additionally, these TUPEs occurred a number of years ago and so it is fair to expect some level of change over time to align members to Communisis values and harmonise benefits for colleagues.
The proposal document we received mentions that the DC contribution scales no longer align with Communisis values. Which values specifically, and what factors have changed to render them no longer in alignment?
In terms of the proposed DC contribution scale, reference to Communisis values in the communication issued relates to harmonising and equalising contributions amongst employees so that they are fairer to all.

Factors leading to the proposals in respect of contributions include:

• The current DC pension landscape in terms of appropriate contribution levels,
• The current economic climate in terms of affordability and sustainability over the long term, and
• The organisation itself – i.e. Communisis is required to offer benefits to all employees that are representative of the market place within which Communisis now operates.

FAQs relating to member charges

Why have my charges increased?
The charges are reflective of the services, tools, flexibility and access to pension freedoms that the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver can offer. There is no guarantee that charges would not have increased in the current arrangement regardless, as charges can and do change over time. The important point to note is that the charges in the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver are very competitive (0.27% for the default fund) and well below both the average DC charges in the pensions industry and the maximum charge of 0.75% for a DC scheme used for automatic enrolment.
Can you please share the amount of money Communisis expect this change to ‘save’ by no longer paying the administration fees in the Communisis Pension Plan?
Saving money is not the primary purpose of the proposals. Communisis reviewed pension arrangements with the goal of simplifying and harmonising current arrangements, making them fairer to all employees, and increasing value for money for both employees and the Company. It is not typical for a company to bear all of the administration charges in a modern DC pension scheme.

Communisis believe value for money can be better enhanced by offering a modern type of pension scheme through a financially strong provider with an established brand. This will give members more options such as access to the pension freedoms, wider investment options, and the ability to better plan for future retirement using a selection of engaging tools, videos and helpful information to improve the member experience.

There is reference to ‘competitive terms with an additional discount’ due to the joint relationship with LBG, but is this in favour of members, Communisis, or both? If for members, where does the additional discount apply?
The additional discount due to the joint relationship with Lloyds Banking Group is in members’ interests as this relationship will enable access for employees to the Master Trust with levels of charges which are lower than they would have been if the joint relationship had not existed.

Communisis went through a process of due diligence to review the market to find a pension provider that could offer excellent value for money overall. A shortlist of providers was determined following advice from Communisis’ pension consultants and Scottish Widows was chosen as the preferred provider from the shortlist. Following the selection process, when Scottish Widows learned of the joint relationship with Communisis, they offered a further discount to their proposed pricing as a direct result of the joint relationship, thus enhancing value for money further. The further discount is taken into account in the proposed charges for the Communisis Flexible Retirement Saver and so is of benefit to members.

Communisis Limited or its licensors, 2020. Registered Office: Communisis House, Manston Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8AH. Registered in England and Wales. Company No. 02916113.

Communisis Limited or its licensors, 2020. Registered Office: Communisis House, Manston Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8AH. Registered in England and Wales. Company No. 02916113.